Various Bits of Progress and Burns Night

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We stuck the paddle staircase in the space where the staircase is going to go, which means we don’t have to finish the staircase just yet, which is nice. It’s also nice being able to easily get upstairs to work.

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Yesterday was freezing, but sunny and absolutely lovely at midday on the landing at the top of the stairs. I’m going to put a couch there so we can sit in the winter sun.

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Richard’s been lovely to work and live with, and keeps taking amazing photos, including the one of the drill in the sun above.

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Nora continues to make progress on the windows, with my help when appropriate.

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We’ve been slowly converting the bits of wood from 3×9 planks, above, to lovely, planed, precisely proportioned pieces with mortise and tenon joints.

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Nora made an awesome little jig for measuring the 15mm mark she needed for mortising.

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I sat and marked everything up and wore my business tiara, which Anna gave me for my birthday. Every serious professional should have a business tiara.

Last night we went to Steve’s house for a slightly belated Burns Night supper.

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Steve gave an amzing Address to the Haggis before serving it up.  Here’s a picture of the delicious two haggises (one meat and one veggie) plus neeps and tatties and whisky cream sauce. It was amazing.

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I got asked to do the Toast to the Lassies. I agreed, of course, but then had to google it to find out what it was. Turns out it has a traditional format involving ribbing the women in the room for a bunch of stereotyped behaviours that may or may not actually apply. I was a little worried how I would say anything funny or nice without doing the gender stereotype thing, and without coming across as a humourless feminist (since I am a damned funny feminist, thank you.)

Anyway, here’s what I wrote:

Thanks, etc.

I got asked to give the Toast to the Lassies by Steve, and said yes without the slightest idea what it meant. I’ve got no Scottish blood at all, not really a poetry person, and have only once or twice had haggis. So I had to look it up. It seems to be traditionally done by a man, and was originally an opportunity to thank the women for doing all the cooking. I’d like to thank whoever’s done the cooking without making any assumptions that it wasn’t all Steve’s work. Anyway, according to my research, somehow the traditional Toast to the Lassies has morphed into an opportunity to shore up as many gender stereotypes as you can in a “humourous” way.

I can only imagine that I’ve been asked to do it on account of I’m pretty butch, since in my day job as a builder I am more likely to use a circular saw than a lipstick, and wear steel toe caps than heels, and given that when my girlfriend went to Buckingham Palace, she did it in a sharp 3-piece suit, and given our proximity to Hebden Bridge, I thought I’d upturn a few other tables in my address.

So my toast to the lassies is this:

Here’s to ladies with chainsaws, ladies in labcoats, women with giant fire hoses putting out housefires, women in the military, girls in debate club, girls in the kickboxing ring. May they find their chosen paths ever easier to follow as we get farther into the twenty-first century.

And here’s to the softer, gentler side of femininity, to the nurturing and loving of children, to the creation and adoration of beautiful things, the soft power of the empathic diplomat. Most especially, here’s to those things when they are carried and offered by men.

And lastly, here’s to the peaceful, respectful, curious, open and loving dialogue that so often takes place these days between people of any gender or none. Long may our love for each other last.

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